Tahlequah Daily Press

February 4, 2014

OU women foul up in loss to No. 7 Baylor


— NORMAN — The fans hated the officiating and it probably wasn’t very good on a night the Oklahoma women appeared to get homered in their own gym.

On the other hand, the Sooners fouled a slew of jump shooters in the first half and their two leading scorers, who had to know their foul situation, managed to wear out their welcome before even the first media timeout of the second half.

Also, it’s pretty hard to beat the nation’s seventh-ranked team when exhibiting so little discipline, and that was the biggest reason why Baylor walked out of Lloyd Noble Center with a victory Monday night.

The reason the Sooners only succumbed to the Lady Bears 81-67 was equally interesting.

Because freshman Gioya Carter played well as long as she could keep herself on the floor, and because the littlest Sooner of all, freshman T’ona Edwards, was even better, and because Morgan Hook played one of her best halves after most of the fouls had been called, OU actually outscored Baylor 32-28 over the last 16 minutes.

“The strangest game I’ve ever been a part of,” OU coach Sherri Coale said.

How profound was the Sooners’ fix?

By the time the first-half ended, OU leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg had been whistled for three fouls, as had the Sooners’ second-leading scorer, Sharane Campbell, as had Carter. And, by the time 4 minutes had elapsed in the second half, Ellenberg had fouled out, as had Campbell.

A couple of ways OU might have topped the Lady Bears would have been for Ellenberg to approach or exceed her 19.1-point average and for Campbell to play something like she played against Oklahoma State, against which she netted 28 two days earlier. Instead, the duo combined to play 32 of 80 available minutes, score eight points and make just 3 of 12 shots.

Because of the fouls, earned or not, the Sooners were hardly ever in a good place.

“There was never any rhythm in the game whatsoever,” Coale said. “We got discombobulated at the beginning and never really were able to get any rhythm.”

The Lady Bears, who were led by Odyssey Sims’ 27 points, grabbed the game and never fully let it go after a 16-1 first half run took their lead from 27-23 to 43-24.

“I thought we were focused,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought we came out and set the tone at the beginning of the game.”

The revaluation was what happened after the Sooners became so shorthanded.

From 18 points down when Campbell and Ellenberg exited, OU climbed within seven points — 57-50 — on a 3-pointer from Hook with 11:03 remaining. Turnovers foiled the comeback, yet Baylor never ran away and hid. And if the Lady Bears let down, their coach didn’t think so.

“You don’t ever relax when you’re playing on the road,” Mulkey said. “You don’t ever relax when you’re playing a conference game.”

Hook finished with 18 points, including 15 after the half. Carter finished with 12 points, three assists and two blocked shots. Edwards hit 4 of 6 shots and even grabbed a team-high six rebounds, fishing with nine points and two assists.

Nina Davis added 19 points and 14 rebounds for Baylor. Sune Agbuke only scored four, but also grabbed 14 boards.

More than enough for a Baylor victory, though OU did not leave embarrassed.

“I’m proud of the ones that came in and stepped up,” Hook said. “When our two best scorers went out of the game, we didn’t cower and lose by 40. We came back and kept fighting.”